Today, 8th March is International Women’s Day. This year’s United Nations theme at the Commission for the Status of Women, an annual conference held at the UN headquarters in New York, to mark International Women’s Day is ‘Innovation and Technological Change and Education in the Digital Age for Achieving Gender Equality and the Empowerment of all Women and Girls.’
Minister for Equality, the Hon Samantha Sacramento, MP, today visited an event organised by the Digital Skills Academy. The visit was also an opportunity for Minister Sacramento to meet and talk to all female students of the academy and to congratulate them on their respective achievements as part of their attendance at the Digital Skills Academy. A total of 25 female students attend the Academy and this represents close to 50% of the total number of students.
Addressing the under-representation of women and girls in technology is one of the main strands of the Ministry of Equality’s Gender Equality Strategy. For many the Ministry worked closely with the local chapter of Girls in Tech to promote and raise awareness of careers in this field through events such as their annual Hackathon which enjoyed the Ministry’s full support.
The Ministry for Equality has also organized several events with the aim to narrow and close the digital skills gap. As part of International Women’s Day 2020, a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) panel event was organized featuring six local women who work in STEM fields with two representatives from Technology. This event was a great success with over 100attendees and with significant representation from schools and students. Students were able to meet and talk with the panelists before and after the panel discussion and had the opportunity to ask questions during the Q and A session too. Providing students with the opportunity to meet and interact with positive role models from a range of fields including Technology is always a vital part of eradicating any negative stereotypes that might deter girls and young women from considering Technology as a potential career path.
The Ministry of Equality has further promoted the importance of digital skills for women by running a WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) ‘My Life, My Skills’ workshop at Westside School in 2018 to mark International Women’s Day. This event was a catalyst for future STEM initiatives and was delivered by the Ministry of Equality’s Policy Development Officer, Marlene Dalli, who is an accredited ‘My Life, My Skills’ facilitator. The students taking part in the workshop were able to learn about different careers in Science and Engineering and Minister Sacramento presented the students with certificates of completion. WISE hosts a platform featuring a range of female role models from the world of Science and Engineering.
The Ministry for Equality successfully asked for local role models to be featured too. The WISE campaign can be accessed on https://www.wisecampaign.org.uk/.
Stewart Harrison, Director of the Gibraltar Digital Skills Academy, said, “We want to recognise and celebrate that girls and women have a space and the opportunity to get involved in technology. It is a worldwide problem, and ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’ is one of the goals of the UN’s sustainable development goals. Currently, our ratios in the academy are far fairer than the gender gap in the technology job market and we have been working for years to attract girls into this field. I want to empower them, grow their confidence and watch them thrive. It’s also about educating boys and men to help close the gender digital skills gap. Also having Lauren Chipolina and Roxanne Martos leading the classes at the academy, doing an absolutely amazing job in enthusing and providing such learning opportunities is invaluable to the success of the academy. The fact our students are loving what they do after all this time with us, is a tangible measure of our success. Today, to mark International Women’s Day is the perfect opportunity to bring all our female students together and make them know how important it is for them to embrace learning technology.”
Minister for Equality, Samantha Sacramento, MP, said, “I always thoroughly enjoy my visits to the Digital Skills Academy an enterprise that is fully supported by the Government. It is an innovative space which is leading on developing the very necessary digital skills for our future generations. Globally, there is a significant gender gap in Technology but I am delighted to see that the Digital Skills Foundation, through its work at the Academy, is working to close that gap. The Ministry of Equality has supported the Digital Skills Foundation since its inception and has been working closely with the Digital Skills Foundation since then. Raising the profile and the visibility of girls and women in Tech is an important first step in sending the vitally important message to everyone in the community that there is a definite place and role for women in this ground-breaking and well remunerated field. I was also very happy to learn that an all-girls cyber team has made it to the final in the UK. I would like to congratulate this team and wish them every success for the forth coming event.”